Lucky Fries Mean Fine Potato Pleasure, Agrarfrost-style
There were smiles all around at the spacious Agrarfrost stand during the recently held Anuga exhibition in Köln – both on the faces of friendly personnel on duty and upon the hefty Lucky Fries served to visitors. Easy to prepare in a deep fryer, oven or frying pan, the newly launched kid-friendly novelty item from Germany’s leading value-added potato products specialist may be offered as a side dish for a main course or as a snack.
“On any given day, billions of emoji icons are shared across social media platforms around the world. With Lucky Fries, we are bringing the laughing, grinning and funny smileys in the shape of potato fries into the kitchens of the HoReCa sector,” said Jörg Blanke, marketing manager of the Aldrup-headquartered company. “Customers in the catering business can show how modern and up-to-date they can be by serving this product. Innovative Lucky Fries are in line with the current zeitgeist of consumers everywhere, and we’re confident that adding them to the menu will result in greater demand for fries among happy faces at the counter.”
Agrarfrost GmbH & Co. KG, which is marking its 50th year in business this year, also debuted Super Paprika Crixx Crisps at the Anuga trade fair and showcased many items in its wide assortment which ranges from frozen french fries and croquettes to hash browns, potato pancakes and other specialties. In addition to observing its Golden Jubilee, the company is celebrating double-digit volume growth of 13% in the German retail sector during the past year and a 5% advance over the previous year – a period when the overall market edged up by just 0.4%. Meanwhile, its Crazy Frites and Griddies novelties scored exceptionally well in 2016, charting a whopping 80% volume gain over 2015.
“Our 50th anniversary is a very special occasion for a family-run business and team that is passionate about potatoes,” Managing Director Manfred Wulf told FrozenFoodsBiz.com. “With the second generation on the job and the third generation in waiting, we are confident about the future and absolutely sure that expansion will continue on a worldwide basis.”
Exports now account for 50% of Agrarfrost’s turnover, compared to 10% a decade ago. Two state-of-the-art factories situated within Germany’s fertile Verabrbeitungsgürtel potato belt annually process approximately 550,000 tons of tubers into more than 260,000 tons of finished products that are consumed throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Americas and beyond. Indeed, shipments are sent to over 100 countries around the world.
End users of Agrarfrost products are virtually equal in market share representation at 30% each in the fast food, other foodservice and retail segments, with industrial clients accounting for the remaining 10% of output. Demand in Europe continues to grow steadily among fast food and foodservice customers, while the retail sector remains stable.
The company sources tubers from a network of over 200 contract farmers tilling roughly 8,000 hectares of rich soil in the heart of Germany’s best potato cultivation areas in Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. With the last harvests of the year scheduled for late October, it currently looks like the crop is in good shape both in terms of quality and quantity.
Agrarfrost’s long-established “Agenda Sustainability” program, which simultaneously focuses on economic development and sustainable production, is the key to its successful supply line continuity. By concentrating on core competencies of potato production and marketing, the company has adroitly managed to promote healthy growth and positive development for half a century.
From almost the beginning, when Reinhold Stöver founded the enterprise in 1967, Agrarfrost agronomists have been in the fields cultivating and propagating seed potatoes on their own. The bountiful result during a good season nowadays amounts to 60 tons of spuds harvested per hectare, compared to a worldwide average of just 19 tons.
Proud to offer customers “Made in Germany” clean label field-to-fork potato products free of preservatives, additives and artificial flavors, Manfred Wulf is just as proud of the strong work ethnic and performance of the company’s 700-plus employees.
“There are always members of our team working or thinking about customers’ requirements, as we are active 24/7,” said the managing director. “And when it comes to raw material sourcing, we never gamble on buying potatoes on the free market. Unlike some of our competitors, we do not speculate.”
Germany’s No. 1 supplier of frozen french fries and other value added potato products made from sustainably sourced spuds is driven by a thoroughly integrated approach that has propelled it into an enterprise that generates more than EUR 260 million in annual revenue. From cultivation of seed potatoes, to securing reliable access to varieties including Zorba (which was developed by its own agronomists), Agria, Russet Burbank and other tubers – to washing, peeling, cutting, blanching, frying, freezing and packaging in the plants – Agrarfrost’s fine-tuned farming, production, distribution, sales and marketing engine is firing on all cylinders. – Reported by John Saulnier